parenting

All posts tagged parenting

Kill ‘em or Cuddle ‘em?

Published February 10, 2013 by KalamityK

This parenting malarkey is just a bundle of conflicting emotions isn’t it? You love your kids but there are moments when you could quite happily batter them at the same time.

I’ve just spent the afternoon blitzing the manchilds bedroom. He’s moved out so it’s not technically his anymore and I need the room for friends coming to stay but his stuff is still here and as he’s unable to sort it all out himself at the moment, I did it.

As I sort through his things, I find a piece of paper from the local pawn shop. Now, I already knew that the manchild was not a stranger to this establishment and that that’s where my fold–up bike had gone but being reminded of the fact made me a little cross. Those bikes are not  just expensive, they are SUPER expensive… as in hundreds and hundreds of pounds. I got mine second hand and dirt cheap, in fact I didn’t even pay for it, my mum did, but that’s not the point. And neither is the fact that I only ever used it twice. The grand sum he got for it? £100? £50 maybe? Nope. £10! The reminder itself made me grumpy but I hadn’t realised how little he got for it. That made me even more like a bear with a sore head. 

So I’m sorting and clearing and grumbling to myself when the phone rings. It’s the manchild… and instantly I forget being grumpy with him and am just happy to hear his voice. The pawnshop slip didn’t seem important anymore, especially as we’d already had ‘The Discussion‘ about it when it happened. It was much more important to find out how his week has been and to just talk with each other; because despite his faults and our occasional frustrations with each other, I’m lucky to have him. He’s the only kid I’ve got and he’s irreplaceable.  Besides, he’s not going to be a dumb pawnbroker-using teenager for ever.

He has dragged me onto this rollercoaster but the highs more than make up for the lows. I reckon I’ll keep the pawn-slip as a reminder to myself of this daft teenager of mine who’s making growing up such a memorable event! I’ll tuck it away somewhere safe and find it again in a decade or two, when he’s all grown up finally. And the next time I see it, instead of making me grumble, it’ll remind me of how he’s grown and how far he’s come and it’ll make me smile. 

bike lady

Advertisements

If only hindsight came first

Published July 3, 2012 by KalamityK

Did I make the right decision only having one child? I always wanted more than one. When I was young and before I had any kids, I wanted about 6. As I got older and realised what having children actually entailed I lowered my goal to 2 or 3. But in the end, I had just one. I used to joke that I wasn’t crazy enough to do it again but really, the opportunity didn’t arise. I wanted my child so badly. I’d previously lost two babies due to miscarriages so he was my third pregnancy. Third time lucky!

I split with his dad when I was pregnant. I was 21. I really didn’t choose very well. I was too young to understand that his dads’ lifestyle and history meant he wouldn’t be a good father, and if I’m honest, I didn’t think it was all that important. I was proud and arrogant and stubborn. I could do it on my own. I didn’t need a father for my kid. After all, I was born to have children. It’s all I’d ever wanted. I knew having babies was my destiny. Sounds daft now but it made sense in my silly young head. I never wanted anything else.So I had my son and I raised him on my own from the day he was born. Except I didn’t. Yes I was a single parent but I wasn’t raising him alone. I had my parents, my family and my friends to help me out. When it got tough they helped me. When I ran out of money they helped me. When I got sick they took over. When I got a job, they looked after him and picked him up from school so I didn’t have to fork out child care costs. No way did I raise this kid on my own. I had post natal depression too so without help and support from the loved ones in our lives, we would have been doomed. I can’t thank them enough.

As he grew up, I began to understand just how important dads were. When the manchild reached 6 years old, something changed in him. He became uncooperative and naughty. He refused to do as he was told. He was blatantly disrespectful and disobedient. But here’s the critical part… he was only like this to the women in his life.  My son needed a dad. His real dad had left the country just after his sons 2nd birthday and couldn’t return due to his immigrant status.  So I asked my dad and my brothers to step in. They got on board and spent time with him, taking him swimming and to baseball practice and doing other boy stuff with him. It worked. He responded well to the male input and soon we had our little manchild back to his fun self. But it showed me that children, particularly boys, really do need their dads. They can manage without them but they do better with them. It was wrong of me to decide I could raise this little boy without a father and my biggest regret will always be that I chose badly for my son.

I’m not saying all dads should be involved in their kids’ lives no matter what, or all mothers for that matter. Some parents just aren’t fit to raise their kids and can do more harm than good…. But where possible I am a firm believer that children do best with input from both mother and father IF both are capable and dedicated to loving and raising their children responsibly. If I could I would shout from the rooftops to all the girls who think they can do it alone, STOP! It’s not about YOU. It’s about those babies and it’s unfair of you to not even give them the chance of having two parents! Should the dice roll so you end up a single parent, fair enough but PLEASE don’t do it by choice. Your child deserves better!

Extended family does their best and everything they do is extremely valuable but nothing quite fills the boots of a father like a father. Whether that is a biological father or a man who willingly steps into that role isn’t necessarily important. My dad has done everything for me a father should and he chose to marry our mum and be dad to a 5yr old and an 8yr old. He didn’t have to. My son needed a father to show him how to be a man. That was something I could not do, no matter how hard I tried.

I watched some of my friends produce child after child. They gave their first child siblings but with no thought to stability and no fathers. I thought it was irresponsible. I did not want to bring another child into this world without being in a stable relationship. That relationship didn’t happen and I wasn’t willing to raise another child with no father. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right.

Rightly or wrongly, I also wanted my children to be the same colour. My son is mixed race. I’m white, his dad is black. Maybe that shouldn’t have been important to me but it was. I didn’t want him to feel like the odd one out because his skin colour was different to the rest of the family. (How ironic that he now feels different to the rest of the family anyway). So until I found a good, decent black man to settle down with, I set aside my desire for a daughter, my desire for siblings for my son and got on with trying to raise the manchild to the best of my abilities.

He was a great kid. Everyone loved him, adults and kids alike. He was kind, compassionate, caring and very funny. But sometimes he was lonely. His first cousin didn’t arrive until he was 8 years old so he was the only child in the whole family until then. We didn’t live near his school and I worked til 5pm every weekday so it was impossible to have friends back after school. I didn’t drive and couldn’t afford to learn so we were trapped in this grotty little flat above a stinky butchers shop. The only way out was a 30 minute bus ride into town on an unreliable bus service, then another bus to our destination. It would take well over an hour to visit anyone. Getting home could take 90 minutes or more unless we were given a lift. I had to be mum, dad AND friend to him.

His dad had been in contact here and there over the years and he was due to go stay with him in France for a week. Unfortunately, after weeks of building up his excitement, his dad cancelled the trip right at the last minute. His dad also had a new baby at around the same time so when he phoned to tell me that he couldn’t afford to have him over to stay, it was a bit of a slap in the face, especially as it was left to ME to break the news to him. He didn’t have the balls to tell him himself. He broke my child’s heart. I heard it break.

After that, the manchild started having real trouble at school. He got in with the wrong crowd and started smoking weed. He stopped caring. Hell, after that he became the wrong crowd! His hormones kicked in and he shot up in height and in strength. And he got angry. There was a red hot anger simmering underneath the surface, waiting to explode. That combination of height, hormones and hashish was not a good one. He didn’t just go off the rails; he jumped off them and ran riot.

I had always tried to be a good mother and maintain the contact between the manchild and his father. No matter what I thought of him, I believed it wasn’t my place to stop them having a relationship. I was never going to be one of those mothers who use their child as a weapon. Seeing him at 6yrs old needing his dad meant I tried wherever possible to give him his dad. I even took him to Holland and France so they could spend time together. Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing there too. Should I have kept them separate and cut all contact?  Overall, considering the damage that has been done with half-hearted attempts and a lifetimes worth of broken promises … maybe the manchild would have done better with no father at all.

It’s hard to say because my friends who were single parents to one child where the father had little or no contact have had different outcomes with their kids, but they had daughters. A mother bringing up a daughter is different to a mother bringing up a son. I have one friend who also had a boy to raise on her own and his life also involved a promise breaking father and my friend is now going through a similar experience with her boy. Is it really so different for boys and girls or is it the broken promises and constant rejection from dad that makes the difference? And what difficulties do single fathers have bringing up daughters compared to single dads bringing up sons?

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent there but everything that’s happened is the reason I didn’t want to bring another child into the world without a good father in situ. What if I had more children and things were as crappy for them as they had been for him?

Although the manchild doesn’t think any of this has anything to do with his choices from then on, I believe it played a major part in what happened over the following few years, including his eventual run-in with the law. I suspect we might always disagree on this but that’s ok; I brought him up to think for himself, to be an individual.

Now, the only siblings the manchild has are on different continents, speaking different languages.  He’ll probably never know his older Spanish half-brother who we think lives in America now and whether or not he maintains contact with his younger half-sister in France currently depends on him communicating with his father, a man who has no real importance in his life after everything that has happened. In a few years she’ll be on facebook and maybe he’ll be able to keep in touch that way.

Well, what’s done is done. I can’t go back in time and make wiser choices.  I can’t make different decisions. I don’t have a time machine to fix the mistakes I made along the way. I did what I thought was right at the time.

I worry for his future with no brothers or sisters. I’m sad that he’ll never be an uncle unless he marries. His extended family will have to come from whomever he chooses to settle down with. He’s 18 now and growing up, maturing. We’re over the worst and we have lived to tell the tale. I can only hope he has learnt what NOT to do when it comes to being a father himself one day. And I hope he has more than one child.

2nd chance poem

Published June 8, 2012 by KalamityK

I just found a scrap of paper tucked into my bookcase with this poem written on it. It’s one of many scraps I’ve kept over the years. If I find anymore I’ll share them as well.

IF I HAD MY CHILD TO RAISE AGAIN

If I had my child to raise again,

I’d finger-paint more and point my finger less.

I’d do less correcting and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious and seriously play.

I’d run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I would be firm less often and affirm much more.

I’d build self-esteem first and the house later.

I’d teach less about the love of power and more about the power of love.

Author Unknown. 

Hello world!

Published June 5, 2012 by KalamityK

Wow! I’m actually here. So are you!  O M Effin’ G! I don’t know what I’m more surprised about, the fact that you’re here reading this or that I wrote it in the first place. Don’t s’pose it matters really so… Hi!

I never thought I’d do this because I didn’t really think I had anything to say and even if I did find something to say, I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to read it. But you know what, I need somewhere to vent…. so why not use a blog?! Some people start pages on Facebook to save their sanity but if I did that I’d no doubt cock it up and somehow mix it up with my ‘real’ profile which could be hilariously disastrous. It just aint worth the risk. I’m thinking if I’d done this years ago I might not be the mental headcase I am today.

I work more or less fulltime for the NHS in medical sciences and I’m an ordinary single mum living with a teenage son in South East England. I’ll call him the manchild because he’s legally a man but he’s still my child and he’s got some growing up to do yet. He’s already done a lot of growing up in the last 3 years but like the rest of us, he’s a work in progress. He’s got his faults and I’ve got mine. For the most part, we get on great (now) but it’s been a rough ride at times. I’m not exaggerating when I say we’ve been to hell and back in a rowboat. As he is the most prominent and loved person in my life, I suspect this blog will feature him a lot. Especially when he makes idiotic lifestyle choices that fill me with horror and dread and despair. No doubt my colleagues will feature a fair bit too as most of my day to day life is spent with them and they’ve been my daily companions for the last 10 years… and they have the power to irritate the hell outa me even though my life wouldn’t be the same without them!

There will most likely be more than a few rants about apples too. That one will explain itself eventually.

I should probably warn you now, I moan a lot. It seems like a lot to me anyway, especially since I gave up smoking a few months ago. But I see that as part of being British and I’m all about being patriotic 😉 Aren’t us Brits well known for moaning?! It’s probably not one of our better attributes but if I can’t vent somewhere in writing then there’s every chance I’ll explode. So here I am, setting up my own little cubbyhole ont’ tinterweb to vent and moan and cry and laugh and crack stupid jokes and be sarcastic. There are so many people in my life and I’ve started this because I want to try not to inflict my issues on them. I’m so much bitchier now I don’t have cigarettes to de-stress me. I’m actually rather looking forward to this! Is it wrong to enjoy the potential to grump n groan a little bit? It has to be honest or what’s the point? Ah well, it is what it is.

I will endeavour to be entertaining whilst I get my grump on!

Kalamity K 🙂

PUA Lifestyle

From Loser to Savage...Presented by Coach K

The Gluten Free Blogger

A gluten free, coeliac-friendly blog by Sarah Howells covering gluten free recipes, reviews, and living a healthy life - with plenty of gluten free pizza!

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog

Running From Hell With E.L.

The home of E.L. Farris online

theincompetenthausfrau

My life, distilled

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Trend.Shook.co

Shook. Community powered.

notsofancynancy

How the hell did I get here?

Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums

Behind the scenes with staff and volunteers

~Don't Quote Lily~

wHeRe RaNdoMneSs CoLLiDeS WiTh MoRe RaNdoMneSs

AnotherPhillyGuy

The Rants from the voices

Good2begone

I'm not really here.

Doing It Solo

Parenting/ Living & Creating Solo

Seventh Voice

Simply my take on living life as a female with Asperger's Syndrome.

UrbanBurbles

Welcome to my cubbyhole

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

Medical Humour

The largest collection of medical humour, jokes, funny quotes, interesting medical facts, medical gossips, fun games & lots more! This is a place to have fun. Come read & laugh...

Theresa T Pham

Part Service Delivery Manager. Part Curious and Passioante Adventurer.

%d bloggers like this: